Fly The Friendliest Skies

| Working | May 8, 2013

(I suffer from panic attacks that can come on extremely suddenly and cause tetany, which means my muscles seize up. My sister and I are flying from Sydney to Queensland and, upon landing, I have an attack. It’s not until the rest of the passengers are off the plane do the stewardesses and steward notice me and my sister.)

Stewardess #1: *to my sister* “Hey, is she all right?”

Sister: “She’s having a panic attack.”

Stewardess #2: “Is she scared of flying?”

Sister: “No, she just gets attacks really suddenly. She’s not breathing well and she can’t move.”

Stewardess #2: “I’ll go see if I can lower the oxygen masks.”

Stewardess #1: “It’s ok, honey; I’ll go get the medical staff.”

(The steward sits next to me.)

Steward: “So, I’m Robbie. What’s your name?”

Me: *gasps*

Sister: “Her name is [My Name].”

Steward: “And here I thought her name was Gaspy. How are you holding up, Gaspy?”

(I laugh, which hurts. He wraps his arms around my shoulders and straightens me up from my fetal position, which also hurts.)

Steward: “I know curling up in a ball feels good right now, but it’s not helping your breathing get any better. Keep straight for me, Gaspy.”

Me: “It hurts.”

Steward: “I know, I know. Try and slow your breathing down, though. Come on, Gaspy. Let’s become [My Name] again.”

Stewardess #2: “I can’t lower the oxygen masks for one person, apparently, but I’ve radioed the airport and they’re bringing in a tank for her.”

Me: “What?”

Sister: “Seriously, it’s just a panic attack. We both have them all the time. A glass of warm milk, and we’re fine.”

Steward: “Warm milk, eh? Lame! Here at [Airline], we do things in style! Oxygen tanks all the way! Plan to be spoiled, Gaspy.”

Me: “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”

Stewardess #2: “Don’t be sorry! We’re having fun!”

(Stewardess #1 returns, followed by a medic with a wheelchair and oxygen tank.)

Steward: “Up we go then.”

(The steward gets to his feet and somehow manages to get me into his arms in the narrow gap between the seats. He carries me to the chair and sits me down.)

Me: “I’m really, really sorry.”

Medic: “Stop apologising; this is the best part.”

(He puts the oxygen mask on me and straps me to the chair.)

Me: “I don’t think I need that.”

Medic: “It helps. Trust me.”

Me: “Okay…”

Medic: “And out we go!”

(They wheel me off the plane and through the hall to the airport. We hear shouting from the terminal and it turns out I’d held up the next flight by 45 minutes.)

Steward: “Ready for the best part?”

(We turn the corner, and all the angry passengers take one glance at me and shut up, looking away guiltily. The medic and the steward and stewardesses all laugh.)

Medic: “See how the straps help?”

Steward: “See ya, Gaspy!”

Me: “Thank you, and sorry!”

(The medic continues to wheel me through the airport and starts to get irritated by the fact that no one is moving out of his way.)

Medic: “Seriously. You are strapped into a wheelchair, breathing into an oxygen tank! Move, people! Can I use you to ram into people?”

Me: “Ram away.”

(He proceeds to barge into people who don’t clear room for us, apologising with a grin after every hit. We finally get to the medical centre and they take my heart rate and blood pressure, which are so high, they keep me there to monitor them until they go back down. Finally, I am allowed to leave.)

Medic: “And here is a lollipop for being my bulldozer.”

(Best. Airport Staff. EVER.)

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